British Journal of Psychology

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Volume 60 Issue 2 (May 1969), Pages 149-285

TOWARDS A NEW EXPLANATION FOR THE GEOMETRICAL ILLUSIONS (pages 179-185)

This is the first of a series of papers describing the development of a new theoretical account of illusions. The theory invokes the distorting influence exerted by one set of spatial contours upon another. A general case of this effect gives rise to a gradient of apparent distortion in a column of horizontal lines bounded by sets of vertical bars. The magnitude of this gradient is measured in three conditions. The results show that the extent of distortion is influenced directly by inter‐contour distance, by the dimensions of the contours which induce the illusion and by their contrast with the background display. It is suggested that failure to control these properties of the patterns used to study illusions may be responsible for considerable variation obtained in the results of previous experiments.

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